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Coronavirus ‘challenging’ for 911 dispatchers

April 12-18 is National Telecommunicators Week

ROANOKE, Va. – The coronavirus is not stopping one local dispatch center from celebrating its employees this week.

April 12-18 is National Telecommunicators Week.

Sonya Roman, the manager of the dispatch center in Roanoke, said virtual games have been established and goody bags have also been distributed.

These bags replace gathering everyone together at a restaurant or having food brought in to the center.

Dispatchers, like Kala Gilbert, said adjusting to the virus has been challenging.

“We’ve added questions that we’re asking people if they are going to be in contact with our first responders or officers, and just making sure we get clear answers,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert is also the city’s 911 communication officer of the year.

Roman made the announcement during the interview with 10 News, a total surprise to Gilbert.

“Even though we made some changes in how we celebrate, we still thought it was important that we do celebrate and let them know how important they are, even during this time of crisis and this pandemic," Roman said.

Gilbert said dispatchers feel honored to be recognized and are trying to be positive to get through the pandemic.

Roanoke 911 dispatchers.
Roanoke 911 dispatchers. (WSLS)